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Value for many: R.S. Sodhi

Varsha Chidambaram | Oct. 24, 2012
There are very few brands that evoke a sense of fondness and pride in its customers the way that Amul does. Whether it's Amul's witty socio-political ads or its business culture that has lead to the upliftment of 3.5 million Indian farmers. It's no wonder then that R.S. Sodhi, MD, Amul has been with the co-op for 30 years. Born in a village, raised in the country's lustrous farms, Sodhi has grown with the organization the way we have grown on Amul's ghee, butter, and milk. And today, at the company's helm, he's taking Amul to new heights, never once forgetting the humble values Amul was built on.

CIO: So what's the secret of your success?

R. S. Sodhi: It's IT! It is core to our business. Without IT, one cannot work in rural areas considering the numbers involved. We collect milk from 3.5 million farmers twice a day, that's more than six million transactions a day scattered over 16,000 village societies. We've been able to achieve such geographical dispersion and diversity only because of IT. Sitting here, I know in which village which farmer has given me how much milk. Product integration with IT also helps me predict demand and adjust my produce to meet that demand.

CIO: How have you leveraged IT to help Amul grow?

R. S. Sodhi: IT provides an integrated and holistic view of all stakeholders data for a quick and accurate analysis. It helps in understanding the market share of Amul and identify where we should focus our efforts. IT also helps us bring process level efficiencies and improve our entire supply chain. IT is also helping us automate critical processes across the entire network.

We have integrated technology at all stages of distribution by implementing software solutions across the entire value chain on a robust and reliable communication backbone. These include software focused on automating rural operations to enterprise-wide SAP implementations. We are also improving our distribution reach through robust GIS-based analytics.

IT is a strategic differentiator. It has helped us cut costs and improve customer service. This has helped Amul turn complex, duplicate, fragmented and error-prone systems into simplified, standardized, and customer-enabled systems.

CIO: What does the future for Amul look like?

R. S. Sodhi: Our plan is to double our capacity by 2020. At the rate we're growing, we'll probably reach our target by 2018. I've been with Amul for three decades now. It's my first job! When I joined Amul it was an organization of Rs 120 crore, this year we expect it to be Rs 11,000 crore. I want to take it to Rs 30,000 crore.

A lot of people are ready to work for the rich and powerful, but a very few are ready to work for the have-nots. Besides the salary, the satisfaction you get from working with the 3.5 million marginal farmers of India is something else.

 

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